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Purchasing Cooperative tools are helping cities, counties and school districts meet the state of Texas mandate to reduce energy use by 5%. That is a big job for the city of El Paso, given that they have 214 facilities with 3.2 million sq. ft. of space. For the Multiple Service Center–Operations facility with 17,000 sq. ft., they exceeded that goal through their energy conservation and utility cost reduction measures completed with renovations. And for part of that project, they used the HCDE facilities purchasing cooperative. They chose to renovate, rather than raze, the more than 50-year-old facilities that needed asbestos abatement, office renovation, electrical wiring, new restrooms and new mechanical energy efficient HVAC.
The city staff did general repairs themselves, but used contractors for electrical, plumbing and mechanical disciplines, including the Choice Facility Partners’ purchasing cooperative contract with Johnson Controls for the energy efficient HVAC. Larry Nichols, Deputy Director of General Services, said they had previous experience with Johnson Controls and wanted this energy efficient HVAC project to be similarly undertaken in concept and approach. In the earlier project, the city had contracted with Johnson Controls on an ESCO Utility Cost Reduction Measure performance contract and “so far have met and exceeded projected goals,” according to Mr. Nichols.
“Once we identified Johnson Controls as a Choice vendor partner, we commissioned the design, and then went through the CFP [ purchasing cooperative ] process to hire them to install refrigeration units, which were all geared toward energy savings and sustainability specifications,” said Mr. Nichols.
The General Services Department found out about the facilities services purchasing cooperative from the city’s purchasing division, in the finance department. “We learned it would be a highly effective process for us to utilize a [ purchasing ] cooperative for the procurement component of the project, so we asked CFP to help us,” said Mr. Nichols.
Prior to the renovation where the purchasing cooperative contract was used, a complex evaporative cooling system was in use. While it is not as expensive to operate as refrigeration, the evaporative coolers ran day and night and still it could not provide the associates a comfortable working space during the summer cooling season.
“Everyone is very pleased,” said Mr. Nichols. “The new [energy efficient ] HVAC units provide improved office environment and employee morale. They are working great.”
The energy efficient HVAC system, with high SEER-rated units, ducting and controls, was of paramount important to the project and the energy conservation they are committed to. “It is a cost-benefit strategy,” said Mr. Nichols. “It costs more to run a refrigeration system than an evaporative one, but cost can be offset by conserving water, and monitoring and adjusting the scheduling and controls, which reduces energy usage. The cost-benefit criteria has been realized by positively impacting associate productivity.”
In addition to conserving energy, the city conserved funds by accessing the energy efficient HVAC system by using the CFP purchasing cooperative contract.
The energy efficient HVAC system incorporated programmable thermostats, which are monitored off-site by computer, so temperature can be adjusted remotely. “We change our settings for use conditions and occupancy, and save accordingly.”
About Johnson Controls
Harris County Department of Education awarded the contracts with Johnson Controls to be accessed through their facilities services purchasing cooperative, Choice Facility Partners. The purchasing cooperative contracts cover energy management, energy efficient HVAC, mechanical, and security systems.
To learn more about Johnson Controls, go to http://www.johnsoncontrols.com. For information about Choice Facility Partners and their facilities purchasing cooperative contracts, go to www.ChoiceFacilityPartners.org, choose Vendor Partners, and then select Johnson Controls.
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